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Chicago Media Jobs Cut

Posted on December 29, 2008

In a world filled with online capabilities, many traditional newspapers are suffering. The City of Chicago is no exception and many Chicago media jobs are being cut.

In a city that once had more than 11 daily newspapers, only two remain – the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. According to an article by The Associated Press, the Sun-Times continues to lose money every quarter and the Tribune’s parent company is facing $13 billion in debt. Both papers are facing budget cuts and many newsroom jobs are being cut, and print editions of the paper have decreased.

Much of the newspaper industry’s problems come from the fact that many people don’t bother to buy an actual paper, but instead access news online. And because people aren’t buying papers, companies are less likely to advertise in them. If either Chicago newspaper were to go under, the Sun-Times seems to be the more likely candidate, as the company has cut $50 million this year and saw a third-quarter loss of $168 million.

The Sun-Times has an average weekday circulation of 313,176, down 3.9 percent from last year. The paper’s Sunday circulation is at 255,905, down 4.5 percent from last year. The Tribune has seen a 7.8 percent drop in sales, but sells 203,000 more papers on weekdays and 609,000 on Sundays.

Many professionals blame the Sun-Times’ problems on former owner Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. acquired the paper in 1984. The company had the paper return to its liberal political stance, which cost many writers. Murdoch sold the Sun-Times to Hollinger International in 1993. That company’s then-chief executive, Lord Conrad Black, was convicted in 2007 of siphoning millions of dollars from the Sun-Times and its other newspaper holdings.

Under Hollinger, the Sun-Times had a 10 percent to 12 percent operating profit margin. Hollinger created the Sun-Times Media Group 70 neighboring smaller papers.

“It they were to fold, it would be a devastating loss to the city,” Miner, senior editor of the Chicago Reader, said in the article. “It would be tragic on its own terms to have only one voice left. And then consider that that voice would be the Tribune, which is in precarious shape itself.”